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Gingras v. Colvin

United States District Court, Third Circuit

December 18, 2013

ANTHONY FRANCIS GINGRAS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION RE: PARTIES' CROSS MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. NOS. 11 AND 13)

ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, Anthony Francis Gingras ("Plaintiff") brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of the Social Security Act (the "Act"), seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner"), denying his application for disability insurance benefits ("DIB"). The parties have submitted Cross Motions for Summary Judgment on the record developed at the administrative proceedings. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 11) will be denied. The Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 13) will be granted and the administrative decision of the Commissioner will be affirmed.

II. Procedural History

Plaintiff protectively filed for disability benefits on May 3, 2010, alleging disability as of March 1, 2002. R. 130-138. The applications were denied by the state agency on September 16, 2010. R. 73-82. Plaintiff responded on November 16, 2010, by filing a timely request for an administrative hearing. R. 86-87. On November 10, 2011, an administrative hearing was held in Seven Fields, Pennsylvania, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") James J. Pileggi. R. 36-68. Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, appeared and testified. R. 36-68. At the administrative hearing, Plaintiff amended his alleged onset of disability to July 8, 2004. R. 40. Ms. Crofton, an impartial vocational expert ("VE"), also testified. R. 63-68.

In a decision dated December 16, 2011, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was "disabled" within the meaning of the Act as of the protective filing date, May 3, 2010, and awarded Plaintiff supplemental security income ("SSI") benefits. R. 17-35. The ALJ, however, determined that Plaintiff was not "disabled" within the meaning of the Act prior to May 3, 2010, so his claim for DIB benefits was denied because his date last insured was September 30, 2008. Id. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on February 22, 2013, thereby making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner in this case. R. 1-3.

Plaintiff commenced the present action on May 15, 2013, seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's decision. Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff and the Commissioner filed Cross Motions for Summary Judgment on October 3, 2013, and November 4, 2013, respectively. Doc. Nos. 11 & 13. These motions are the subject of this Memorandum Opinion.

III. Statement of the Case

In his decision, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the Act through September 30, 2008.
2. The claimant had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since, July 8, 2004, the alleged onset date. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1571 et seq. and 416.971 et seq.
3. The claimant had the following severe impairments: major depressive disorder; anxiety disorder; bilateral knee condition; right shoulder condition; back condition; obesity; sleep apnea; high blood pressure; and left leg fasciitis. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c).
4. The claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that prior to the date the claimant became disabled, May 3, 2010, he had the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except he would not be able to engage in the operation of foot controls; he would not be able to engage in crawling, kneeling, squatting, climbing or balancing on heights; he would not be able to engage in bending at the waist to more than 45 degrees; he would be limited to simple and repetitive work, involving routine ...

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